Massa, Button and Chilton keen on staying put

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Felipe Massa, Jenson Button and Max Chilton have all expressed a desire to remain with their respective teams for 2014 despite none of the trio having a secure contract for next season.

Following Red Bull’s confirmation that Daniel Ricciardo will be driving for the team next season, the 2014 driver market is beginning to fall into place. For Massa, speculation surrounding his future is something of a yearly occurrence, and the Brazilian driver is fully focused on upping his game and securing some strong results in the second half of the season.

“Good results are always important, so I’ll just concentrate on that,” Massa said. “There is a big opportunity to carry on with Ferrari, so I just need to concentrate, trying to do the best we can over the car and that’s what I’m looking for.”

In Button’s case, the signing of a new contract appears to be a formality. However, he did concede that he had felt uncomfortable following McLaren’s poor performance so far this season.

“Yes, I’m very happy to stay where I am,” the Briton confirmed. “I think it’s very easy, when times are difficult, to look elsewhere but when you’re in a team like McLaren that has been fighting at the front for so many years it’s definitely the wrong move to move elsewhere.”

For backmarker Max Chilton, it is simply a case of seeing where he and Marussia stand at the end of the season, but he is confident that the team is keen to retain him alongside Frenchman Jules Bianchi.

“My situation is the same as it’s been all year,” Chilton said. “I’ve got a one-year contract. Obviously I’m a rookie and so is Jules and we’re here to learn as much as we can.

“All I know is the team are happy to keep both of us and I’ll just keep trying to do the best job I can.”

Ricciardo’s confirmation should allow for the final few pieces of the driver market to slot into place over the next few weeks and months. However, with former world champion Kimi Raikkonen also thought to be considering a move away from Lotus, new sagas may be set to begin in the near future.

Click here to read NBC’s analysis of the 2014 driver market.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”